City Detail

Background Information

City of Pine River
County: Cass
Population: 928
GreenStep City category: B
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 7
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Terri Dabill
Community Volunteer
218-587-2440
City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
GreenStep City resolution: Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date: STEP 2 ( )

City Assessment Files and City Performance Metrics

City councils pass a resolution to join the GreenStep program and are recognized at Step 1. Step 2 and Step 3 recognition levels reflect completed city actions, reported and rated below with stars (1 star = good, 2 stars = better, 3 stars = best). The Assessment File below summarizes completed city actions in a short Word file. Step 4 recognition is awarded to cities who report a minimum number of core metrics for the previous calendar year. These metrics aim to show the aggregate, quantitative results of taking multiple GreenStep actions. Step 5 cities show improvement in the Step 4 metrics. See yearly data for Steps 4&5. Additional city data can be found by reviewing information on B3 Benchmarking and Regional Indicators Initiative.

Best Practice Actions Underway and Completed

Completed actions are denoted by stars.

Total completed actions: 18
1 star actions: 8
2 star actions: 5
3 star actions: 1

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings {BP no.1}

Not rated - Action 1:

Enter building information into the Minnesota B3 Benchmarking database and routinely enter monthly energy, water use data for all city-owned buildings.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Data up to date in B3.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Baseline and benchmark completed.
Descriptive File:
City of Pine River
For more information contact:
John van der Linden (Community volunteer) | johnvdl@pinerivergreensteps.org | 218-587-5001
1 star - Action 2:

Make no/low cost indoor lighting and operational changes in city-owned/school buildings to reduce energy costs.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
RETAP Assessment in January 2011, Recommendations presented to City Council.
City installed Vending Misers, Programmable Thermostats as recommended by RETAP
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Quinn Swanson (Community volunteer) | quinn@hugllc.com | 218-587-5001

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals {BP no.4}

3 star - Action 8:

Replace the city's existing traffic signals with LEDs.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Completed. Pine River's traffic lights are all LEDs.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
John van der Linden (Community volunteer) | johnvdl@pinerivergreensteps.org | 218-587-5001

Land Use Land Use

Comprehensive, Climate and Energy Plans {BP no.6}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a future land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Completed. Pine River's comprehensive plan was most recently updated in 2007.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
John van der Linden (Community volunteer) | johnvdl@pinerivergreensteps.org | 218-587-5001
Pending - Action 2:

Demonstrate that regulatory ordinances comply with the comprehensive plan including but not limited to having the zoning ordinance explicitly reference the comprehensive plan as the foundational document for decision making.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
In progress. The community's current Minnesota GreenCorps member is evaluating Pine River's comprehensive plan for consistency with its zoning ordinance. The member will present a report with recommendations to the city council by August, 2011.
Outcome measures/metrics:
We hope parts of the zoning ordinance will be changed, if necessary, to reflect the comprehensive plan.
Descriptive File:

Efficient Highway- and Auto-Oriented Development {BP no.9}

1 star - Action 2:

Participate in regional economic development planning with representatives from surrounding townships, cities, the county and business interests to:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
In progress. Several Pine River community members are participating in the HUD / Region Five sustainable communities regional planning process.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
John van der Linden (Community volunteer) | johnvdl@pinerivergreensteps.org | 218-587-5001

Transportation Transportation

Mobility Options {BP no.12}

2 star - Action 2:

Conduct an Active Living campaign such as a Safe Routes to School program.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Greater Pine River Area Healthy Green Communities Partnership GreenSteps Task Force working with Envision MN to look at revitalizing Pine River's MainStreet (Barclay Avenue) held 3 public meetings to discuss options. Pine River Revitalization group carrying torch forward. Looking at bike lanes along Barclay and "Pine River Plaid" campaign to aesthetically spice up downtown with Paul Bunyan (red/black) plaid.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
Envision MN
For more information contact:
Quinn Swanson (Community volunteer) | quinn@hugllc.com | 218-587-5001
1 star - Action 3:

Prominently identify mobility options: transit; paratransit/Dial-A-Ride; ridesharing/cab services; rental cars; bikes; airports.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Complete. The executive director of Pine River's Chamber of Commerce revised the Chamber's website to include a headline, an informational flier, and several photos promoting our community's public transit service, the Ride With Us Bus.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
John van der Linden (Community volunteer) | johnvdl@pinerivergreensteps.org | 218-587-5001

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing {BP no.15}

2 star - Action 1:

Adopt a sustainable purchasing policy or administrative guidelines/practices directing that the city purchase at least:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
COMPLETE as of May 17, 2011. Pine River's city council passed an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing policy during their May council meeting, after consulting with Roy Hamilton (City Clerk's office) to make appropriate changes.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
John van der Linden (Community volunteer) | johnvdl@pinerivergreensteps.org | 218-587-5001

Urban Forests and Soils {BP no.16}

Pending - Action 4:

Maximize tree planting along your main downtown street or throughout the city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Getting started. The Pine River GreenStep Task Force has done some initial research on our tree-planting options and is developing a plan for how to move forward with this action.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
John van der Linden (Community volunteer) | johnvdl@pinerivergreensteps.org | 218-587-5001

Surface Water {BP no.19}

1 star - Action 2:

Conduct or support multi-party community conversations around improving local water quality and quantity.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Pine River Watershed Intensive Monitoring beginning in 2012. Varied partners working to monitor water quality, connect with communities and educate on quality issues, invasives and more. Partners: MPCA, SWDCs, Cass and Crow Wing Counties, Cities, Norway Lake Association and more.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Quinn Swanson (Community volunteer) | quinn@hugllc.com | 218-587-5001

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Benchmarks and Community Engagement {BP no.24}

2 star - Action 1:

Use a city commission, or committee to lead, coordinate, and report to and engage community members on implementation of sustainability best practices.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The city's Healthy Green Communities Partnership reports progress of its task forces annually to the community, most recently on Sept. 27, 2010.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Quinn Swanson (Community volunteer) | quinn@hugllc.com | 218-587-5001
2 star - Action 5:

Conduct or support a community education, visioning and planning initiative using a sustainability framework such as:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Pine River residents collaborated with the Initiative Foundation to host a community visioning in June 2009...
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:

Green Business Development {BP no.25}

Pending - Action 7:

Conduct or participate in a buy local campaign for community members and local businesses.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
In progress. With the Pine River area Chamber of Commerce, we are looking into a 10% discount on Chamber Dollar gift certificates during the month of December (holiday shopping season!).
Outcome measures/metrics:
More community members purchasing Chamber Dollars in December; more Chamber Dollars redeemed at local businesses.
Descriptive File:

Renewable Energy {BP no.26}

2 star - Action 3:

Promote financing and incentive programs such as PACE for clean energy:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
From the website of Pine River's Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL):
"At RREAL, we seek to address [fuel poverty] with solar energy. Our flagship program, Solar Assistance, installs solar heating systems in partnership with low-income families that qualify for public energy assistance."
Solar Assistance is a financing program that makes it possible for low-income families to afford and enjoy the benefits of RREAL's pioneering technology, the solar-powered furnace.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
1 star - Action 5:

Install a public sector/municipally-owned renewable energy technology, such as solar electric (PV), wind, biomass, solar hot water/air, or micro-hydro.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Pine River-based Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) partnered with CERTs and Cass County to install solar-powered furnaces at the solid waste transfer station in Pine River. -Reported 3/8/11
RREAL solar hot air panel installed on the City of Pine River Ice Rink Warming Shed. 2/12
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Quinn Swanson (Community volunteer) | quinn@hugllc.com | 218-587-5001
1 star - Action 6:

Report installed private sector-owned renewable energy/energy efficient generation capacity with at least one of the following attributes:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
In 2006 Winkelman's Environmentally Responsible Construction (WERC) installed a small wind turbine on the Hunt Utilities Group campus in Pine River. The turbine was made possible in part by a $20,000 grant from Minnesota Power. In addition to the project description linked to below, you can see a Lakeland Public Television short on the HUG turbine here:
http://www.ecowerc.com/projects/audio_video/werc-hug-nibbe-sm.wmv *** Also, the community's GreenStep Task Force has been actively looking into a small hydroelectric power system for the dam on Norway Lake. So far we have obtained an initial feasibility report from Northland Engineering, and investigated possible safety and environmental permitting issues with the help of the DNR and other partners. *** Finally, the Pine River Area Sanitary District, a private entity that treats much of Pine River's wastewater, has solar hot water panels installed on its facility. (Note that this is "renewable energy generating capacity," but solar technology isn't included in the list of attributes specified in this Best Practice action - so the PRASD panels technically don't fulfill this action. Still, it seems like progress worth mentioning!) The Pine River GreenStep Task Force and RREAL are planning to encourage PRASD to fix a problem with their hot water panels, which currently are broken.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:

Local Food {BP no.27}

1 star - Action 3:

Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Pine River enjoys its own farmer's market and community garden, thanks to the hard work of HGCP task force members, vendors, gardeners, and other community members.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Quinn Swanson (Community volunteer) | quinn@hugllc.com | 218-587-5001